Doing Good in the day of Evil
There is much confusion on what the will of God is, and what is good. First, we must understand God’s standard and know what he identifies as evil so that we can choose what is good.
In the beginning God pronounced everything he made as good, this included man (Gen.1:31). When man ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen.3:22) he came to know what is evil, by disobeying Gods command. As mankind grew the sin factor spread and each generation had sin increase until God said “that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). God had to judge this evil as no-one was willing to submit to the Lord and do what was right except one, Noah. But even after the flood was sent God said: “although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done” (Gen. 8:21).
Eccl 7:20 “For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin.” Rom. 3:12: “They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.”
Disease and death were introduced to us as a direct consequence of man’s sin (Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:12). Today we have catastrophes as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, violent thunderstorms, are the result of man’s sin, (which God punished - Genesis 6:5). The whole world has been affected by the sin committed by the first two humans. By being sinful and continually sinning, man separates himself from God (Isaiah 59:2). And will be in this state throughout all eternity (Revelation 21:8; 22:18-19) if he does not turn toward the solution God gave. Without repentance he is unable to escape the “judgment of hell”
Matt 15:19: “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (also Mark 7:21-23). Jer. 17:9-10: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.”
In the Old Testament Israel was given God’s laws and commands to know what is holy and what is not. “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, “in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess.” (Deut 30:15-16).
Sin is a reality that is taking place all around us. Mankind has been affected by sin and its affect in everything we do. In the end the sin factor reaches its pinnacle, It will culminate being as predominant as it was in Noah’s day and have the same type of judgment. 2 Tim. 3:1-4: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves … blasphemers, … unholy,…despisers of good.”
Ps 7:14: “Behold, the wicked brings forth iniquity; yes, he conceives trouble and brings forth falsehood.’
The wicked have sin and falsehood accompany their lives. Here is the answer to why the world is spinning our of control and there is a lack of justice, the sinfulness of man that brings wickedness, evil.
As believers that follow Jesus: 3 Jn 1:11: “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.” Imitating the lord is to introduce good in a world that is predominantly evil… Those who know the Lord live by doing good and try to counter the evil that is present.
1 Pet 3:11: “Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it” (also Eccl.3:12; Jer.13:23). Here is God’s will for the believer to show his changed life in Christ.
After Adam and Eve ate of the tree and learned what is evil (disobeying God’s specific command) Evil increased (Gen 6:5) and is still increasing in our day. It will continue until Jesus returns and removes all of it.
There are certain acts that are considered the most severe production of sin, this is called evil. Jesus said in John 7:7 “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.”
The world is fallen and is an enemy of God. “Jesus said He is the light, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”(John 3:19)
We are warned in the book of wisdom:
Prov. 4:14: “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil.”
Prov. 4:19: “The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.”
Prov. 17:11: “An evil man seeks only rebellion.”
Prov. 6:18: “A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil.”
Prov. 11:19: “As righteousness leads to life, so he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.”
What does God consider Evil or wicked.
Deut 17:6-7, God calls it wicked to serve other gods. “So you shall put away the evil person from among you.” (Deut 31:18 turning to other gods. Judges 2:1)
The true God declares in Isa. 45:22: “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” But mankind refuses to hear from God and will not submit to Him even though he is a merciful father.
Isa. 59:7-8 “Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace.”
“Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.” (Joel 2:12-13)
We go back to the first family where evil was exhibited against another man. I Jn 3:10-12: “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother's righteous.”
Both being sinners, God called ones works righteous? Why, because he obeyed what was asked of him with the right sacrifice. Evil eclipsed any love he had because he allowed sin to manifest and became the first the murderer. John later says “He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.” (3 Jn 1:11)
Matt 19:16-17 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” Jesus said if you call me good do you recognize who I really am? For those who questioned his teaching he responded once 'Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?' (Matt 20:15) Jesus did good all the time, He is our example above all others. As this young man recognized there is no one that can do good like Jesus, We are unable to question his ways or our eye – how we see what He does with His own creation is considered evil. God himself is good and all that he does is good and for the best outcome in a situation or event. We see his fairness throughout the Scripture.
Matt 5:45 “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Nahum 1:7: “The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble”
Ps 34:8: “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”
Ps 100:5: “For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.”
Ps 135:3: “Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing praises to His name, for it is pleasant.”
Ps 145: “The LORD is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.”
Ezra 3:11: “And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD: “For He is good, for His mercy endures forever toward Israel.”
Jer 33:11: “Praise the LORD of hosts, for the LORD is good, for His mercy endures forever.”
God is good to all people in a general sense and He is good to people in a specific ways.
We are saved to do good in this world, glorify God by our good works that he has ordained in Christ. Before we were created Eph 2:10: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Eph.1:5-6)
The WILL of GOD
It begins with the promise in John 6:40: “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34). Everything Jesus did was in obedience to the Father, he executed His will on earth perfectly. We are to have the same goal, as we learn to live by the Spirit to allow ourselves to be conformed into his likeness. Rom. 12:2: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Matt 12:50: “For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” Here Jesus gives us an example of what God’s will is for every believer Matt 21:28-31: “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go, work today in my vineyard.' “He answered and said, 'I will not,' but afterward he regretted it and went. “Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, 'I go, sir,' but he did not go. “Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you.”
So Jesus saw physical work in the vineyard as doing his fathers will. Imagine if the majority of people in the church were willing to do what God asks them to (even evangelism) what the impact on the world would be despite the overarching influence of evil?
Doing God’s will
We are told “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Eph 5:15-17).
In our day evil has increase and encroached on the church that we must be on guard, awake, watchful, that we are not led away with the crowd, the majority that always rationalize what they do is right according to the culture. As Peter admonishes us “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever” (2 Pet. 3:17-18). We grow by learning and applying God’s word. Ps. 119:101: “I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word.” His word keeps us from evil but we are to exercise our will in faith to resist doing evil as others are doing to keep His word.
The will of God is to be holy:
1Thess. 4:3 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality.”
1Thes 5:18: “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Pet 2:15: “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men”
1 Pet 3:17: “For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”
1 Pet 4:19: “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.”
I Jn 2:17: “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
Eph 6:5-7: “masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eye service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men”
The Lord especially watches those who head up businesses that affect peoples lives employed by them. The Lord also watches how those employed work under masters. Eph. 4:28: “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.” When we are blessed it is to help others, this is doing good.
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa 5:20) You may have noticed, everything is upside down and it is hard to make sense out of what is taking place, there seems to be no justice. It is in times like these that it seems God has abandoned us, he has removed himself from our lives and is no longer watching over us. There were times in Israel’s history when they became undecided and did not know the evil from the good and thought God was just like them, there is a lesson in this for us today.
Malachi 2:17:You have wearied the LORD with your words; yet you say, “In what way have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delights in them,” or, “Where is the God of justice?” Zeph. 1:12: “And it shall come to pass at that time that I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men who are settled in complacency, who say in their heart, 'The LORD will not do good, nor will He do evil.”
God is not sitting on the fence, he is gathering reasons to judge unless he sees repentance.
Our part in doing good and holding up His standard.
To withstand the influence of evil in our lives there are certain things we must do:
1Thess. 5:21-22: “Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” We are to examine what we hear and what we do so that we do not enter doing evil. This is a great struggle in our day since we live in such evil times, surrounded by a culture that is sinful and evil. Paul wrote “Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:33-34).
1 Pet. 3:17: “For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” Heb. 10:24: “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,” as iron sharpens iron we encourage one another to strive fior excellence and shine the light of Christ in this dark world.
II Thess. 3:13: “But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.” Doing good can make one weary because there is always resistance when pursuing to do good.1 Pet. 4:19: “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.”
Amos 5:15: “Hate evil, love good; establish justice in the gate”
Paul defines love by saying - Rom. 12:9: “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.” We are not obligated to condone or accept evil. We are to hate evil and actively challenge evil circumstances to stop them.
2 Tim. 3:16-17: It is the Scripture that is given “for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” We should all want to do good works, to do them we must be trained in the word to know what is right and what is wrong, to recognize the difference of good and evil and keep ourselves from the temptation of sin and being seduced to do evil. Heb. 5:13-14: “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
Eccl. 12:14: “For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
Prov. 15:3: “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” God sees the evil being done and we can be assured that it will nor escape his judgment.
“behold, his eyelids test the sons of men. The LORD tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates” (Ps 11:4-5).
“You are my Lord, my goodness is nothing apart from You” (Ps 16:1-2). Apart from the Lord we can do nothing (Jn.15). It is His work through us that will give us victory. Titus 3:8: “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works.”
The end of the matter
In the end the sin factor reaches its pinnacle with a great deception. God does not always judge immediately and he has postponed the ultimate judgment until the end. Eccl 8:11-13 “Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him. But it will not be well with the wicked; nor will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he does not fear before God.”
Do not judge by appearances and think that because you see no justice yet God has ignored it. Acts 17:31: “because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.” God promises, “ I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible” (Isa. 13:11-12).
“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13).
2 Cor. 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
As believers we are to know this and have Godly fear which will produce holiness and stir us to serve him even more as we see the day drawing near.